Commentary

Streaming Music Makes Mobile Sing

In mobile -- as in life -- it’s important to remember where you came from, and what got you to the place where you presently stand.

For mobile, that’s music. Yes, music (combined with audio broadcasting) was for many years the only reason we carried around bulky gadgets -- many of which were actually “connected” and ad-supported.   

This is more than just a historical footnote. Music still contributes to the bottom lines of mobile leaders from Apple to Pandora. 

How? Well, it’s increasingly all about the stream. Indeed, streaming revenues grew 23.2% to $1.03 billion during the first half of the year, according to new findings from the RIAA. Even more impressive, those gains actually outpaced download losses, and helped all digital revenues rise 6.3% to $2.32 billion during the period.

All in all, streaming revenues now accounts for a third of all U.S. music revenue.

That’s obviously good news for streaming services like Spotify and SiriusXM, which showed strong growth during the period. Digital music subscription revenue grew 24.9% to $477.9 million -- an increase of $95.2 million.

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And, believe it or not, some of that cash is apparently trickling down to artists. As Billboard reports, distributions from SoundExchange (which collects digital performance royalties from services such as Pandora and SiriusXM) grew 19.7% to $387.2 million.

Meanwhile, royalties from ad-supported streaming services grew 27.1% to $162.7 million during the first half of the year.

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